Clive Matthew-Wilson, Karen Dow debate roadside drug testing

Lloyd Burr 08/10/2021

LISTEN: The editor of a car safety website says the government's proposed roadside drug tests are unreliable.

Dogandlemon.com editor and road safety campaigner Clive Matthew-Wilson has gone head-to-head with Karen Dow, the mother of Matthew Dow who was killed after his car was hit by another driver who was high on methamphetamine in 2017.

Dow supports the proposed Bill and is backing a petition to introduce roadside drug testing.

"What really infuriates me is that the law is incredibly hard to enforce.

"Unfortunately meth and other drug use [are] rife throughout the country," she told Lloyd Burr Live.

Dow says Kiwis need to be aware of the risks of drugged drivers - because they are out there.

"It can be anybody, anywhere, anytime," she said.

But Matthew-Wilson says the government is either mistaken or deliberately misrepresenting the facts on drugged driving.

"The problem with testing for drugs, most drugs, is that it's so unbelievably inaccurate. 

"If a person is drunk and you make them blow into a tester you can be reasonably certain that they're drunk or under the influence of alcohol, if it's a positive result," he told Lloyd Burr Live.

Most of the tests for commonly used drugs, such as cannabis, are simply not accurate, Matthew-Wilson says.

"The amount of cannabis in your bloodstream has absolutely no effect on how actually blotto you are," he told Magic Talk.

The Bill was originally introduced by the Green Party’s former transport minister Julie Anne Genter.

Roadside drug testing would allow police to randomly stop drivers.

The Māori Party voted against the bill as they have concerns about police randomly stopping Māori drivers.

Anyone failing two saliva tests will be fined, while those opting for a blood test risk being slapped with a conviction.

The new law is expected to be passed in parliament in December. 

Listen to the full panel discussion with Clive Matthew-Wilson and Karen Dow above.

Magic Talk | Lloyd Burr Live, weekdays from 4pm.

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